Systematic analysis reveals molecular characteristics of ERG-negative prostate cancer.

Author(s): Xiao Q,  Sun Y,  Dobi A,  Srivastava S,  Wang W,  Srivastava S,  Ji Y,  Hou J,  Zhao GP,  Li Y,  Li H

Journal: Sci Rep

Date: 2018 Aug 27

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): CBRG

PubMed ID: 30150711

PMC ID: PMC6110738

Abstract: The TMPRSS2:ERG gene fusion is the most prevalent early driver gene activation in prostate cancers of European ancestry, while the fusion frequency is much lower in Africans and Asians. The genomic characteristics and mechanisms for patients lacking ERG fusion are still unclear. In this study, we systematically compared the characteristics of gene fusions, somatic mutations, copy number alterations and gene expression signatures between 201 ERG fusion positive and 296 ERG fusion negative prostate cancer samples. Both common and group-specific genomic alterations were observed, suggesting shared and different mechanisms of carcinogenesis in prostate cancer samples with or without ERG fusion. The genomic alteration patterns detected in ERG-negative group showed similarities with 77.5% of tumor samples of African American patients. These results emphasize that genomic and gene expression features of the ERG-negative group may provide a reference for populations with lower ERG fusion frequency. While the overall expression patterns were comparable between ERG-negative and ERG-positive tumors, we found that genomic alterations could affect the same pathway through distinct genes in the same pathway in both groups of tumor types. Altogether, the genomic and molecular characteristics revealed in our study may provide new opportunities for molecular stratification of ERG-negative prostate cancers.